REVIEW: THE HISTORICAL FICTION COMPANY "The Serpent and the Rose" is a captivating tale that skillfully weaves together historical, dramatic and personal elements. Catherine Butterfield brings to life a fascinating period in French history and paints a complex and memorable portrait of Queen Marguerite de Valois." 5 stars, Highly Recommended Award of Excellence.
KIRKUS REVIEWS "A sweeping but intimate story that highlights the author's clear attention to detail....." "Over the course of the novel, Butterfield employs diary-style from Marguerite's perspective that make for a brisk read, and Marguerite, despite her royal background, comes off as approachable and very human throughout."
In 16th century France, Marguerite de Valois is growing up in one of Europe's most dysfunctional families - the Medici clan. Their extreme inbreeding has led to an alarming number of genetic defects in France's kings. Marguerite alone has escaped this curse. Uncharacteristically beautiful, intelligent, and sane, she is seen as a useful pawn by her mother, Catherine de Medici. In a scheme to unite the country during the raging religious wars, the queen decides to marry her Catholic daughter to Protestant Henri, Prince of Navarre, a charming libertine. De Medici's plan backfires, however, when the populace recoils at the union. Immediately following the wedding a key Huguenot figure is murdered, which leads to the deaths of thousands of Huguenots in Paris, slaughtered by their neighbors in what has come to be known as the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre. Henri barely escapes Paris with his life and Marguerite, sequestered at court by order of de Medici, finds herself a newlywed without a husband. In a tale that covers the trajectory of her life, Marguerite, who narrates her own story, comes to understand that to set herself free of the machinations of other, she'll have to outplay them at their own vicious game.